Connacht sign strong centre

There was further positive pre-season tidings for Connacht as news filtered through that powerful Samoan centre Niva Ta’auso will join the western province.

Ta’auso, who has made 22 appearances in the Super 14 competition, won’t be available for Connacht until October when the current campaign in New Zealand concludes. The 28-year-old is playing there for Counties Manukau, and Connacht manager Tim Allnut believes that Ta’auso will add a fresh dimension to the squad in the autumn. "Niva is a very powerful strong running centre. He's a linebreaker and a good distributor of the ball and we feel he'll improve our play in a crucial area."

The fixtures for the 2008/09 Magners League were also announced this week and Connacht host Ospreys at the Sportsground on the opening night, September 5.

Other significant contests include the St Stephen’s Day derby joust with Munster at the College Road venue, and Connacht will be especially eager to be in a healthy position by then.

It was also confirmed yesterday that Connacht will entertain Portugal at the Sportsground on Wednesday November 5. Portugal will be the first international side Connacht have faced since hosting South Africa in August 2007.

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